Paws for celebration at First Ave. pharmacy

Store turns focus to health needs of disabled dogs

Woodstock, a dog owned by the manager at Nature’s First pharmacy, is able to walk using a wheelchair now sold at the store on First Avenue and 18th Street.

Woodstock, a dog owned by the manager at Nature’s First pharmacy, is able to walk using a wheelchair now sold at the store on First Avenue and 18th Street.

By Sabina Mollot

On First Avenue, one small pharmacy is going to the dogs — but in its owners’ defense, it’s just a response to neighborhood demographics.

The shop is across the street from Stuyvesant Town, where at last official count, there were close to 1,100 dogs, and in response, Nature’s First pharmacy is now focused on Fido, carrying canine medical supplies from wheelchairs to harnesses for giving lift to weak hind legs. Additionally, soon the store will be carrying dog meds that typically are only carried at veterinarians’ offices.

In the past three years the shop’s been open, co-owner and pharmacist Alex Burlak has been focused on holistic health products, stocking items like essential oils, herbs and organic teas. However, he recently noticed there seemed to be a need in the area for pet medical supplies.

“I really think it’s going to explode,” he said.

“I have no doubt because of the demographics here. In Stuy Town there are a million dogs.”

Additionally, there aren’t any distributors of such products within a 100-mile radius, Burlak said. The idea however, actually came from the store’s manager, Ralph Perez, who bought a wheelchair for his dachshund, Woodstock, a few years ago after the dog lost the use of his hind legs.

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